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MARCH 2018 GLOBALCAUSE.CO.UK UN WOMEN: Now is the time to call for empowerment P02

OECD ‘Don’t take risks!’ Fight back against stereotypes! P04


based violence in Botswana

Empowering Women and Girls

TIME’S UP: Eva Longoria and Scarlett Johansson at the 2018 Women’s March, LA. Read TIME’S UP Dear Sisters letter P12 PHOTO: (ARAYA DIAZ/GETTY IMAGES)

Developing antimalarials for mothers and children

Defeating Malaria Together






Enough is enough One billion women have suffered violence or abuse. We must ensure that everyone has a voice. P07

#TIMESUP Learn the talking points that are educating the world on why “Women have been silenced for too long.” P12

HeForShe It’s time for a new narrative: but what does that mean? ONLINE

‘Time is now: rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives’ With change in the air, there has never been a better time to call for the empowerment of women and girls, says Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UN Women.


his year’s International Women’s Day theme captures the vibrant life of the women activists whose passion and commitment have won women’s rights over the generations, and successfully brought change. We celebrate an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality, safety and justice, recognising the tireless work of activists who have been central to this global push for gender equality. What we see today is a remarkable gathering of strength among women all over the world, demonstrating the power of speaking with one voice, as they call for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from Follow us

grassroots networks and coalitions that stretch right up to government leadership. These movements grow from the work of multigenerational activists—from the late feminist human rights leader, Asma Jahangir of Pakistan, to the powerful new generation represented by young women like Jaha Dukureh of The Gambia, UN Women’s Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa on ending FGM and child marriage. Healthy societies have a wide mix of voices and influences that provide the checks and balances, the differing threads of experience and perspectives, and the debate that shapes good decision-making. Where voices are missing, there is an important gap in the fabric of society. When those quietened voices count in the millions, we know

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women for International Women’s Day

“Where voices are missing, there is an important gap in the fabric of society” @MediaplanetUK

there is something wrong with our world. Similarly, as we see and hear those voices rise in strength and solidarity, we feel the power of something right. We commend the women who spoke out in the International Criminal Court where their testimonies have held to account those who used rape as a weapon of war. We celebrate activists who campaigned for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people, and we recognise those who advocated for legal reform in countries such as Tunisia, to end a provision that allowed rapists to escape persecution if they married their victims. We acknowledge those who have taken to the streets in India to decry the murder and rape of

young children, turning protests into broader-based movements that engage entire communities. We honour the indigenous leaders who have stood up for their custodial rights to land and traditional practices, and the human rights defenders who have even lost their lives for their cause. The feminist movement must continue to increase the diversity and the number of people working on gender equality, bringing in individuals and groups—such as men and boys, young people and faithbased organisations—to support and shape the agenda. This has to be a tipping point. The culture of gender-based poverty, abuse and exploitation has to end with a new generation of equality that lasts.


Account Manager for Empowering Women and Girls: Charlotte Platt E-mail: Industry Development Manager - Global Social Impact: Sandy SY Lee Content and Production Manager: Kate Jarvis Managing Director: Alex Williams Digital Manager: Jenny Hyndman Designer: Juraj Prikopa Junior Designer: Mushada Raquib Mediaplanet contact information: Phone: +44 (0) 203 642 0737 E-mail:




Helping to achieve a better environment for women working in banking and finance

Events: Our events are created to inspire and help women across the banking and finance sector to achieve their full career potential. Mentoring: We recognise those leading the industry. We celebrate our members achievements. Our annual awards ceremony is the most sought-after event of the year, offering our members and supporters the chance to publicly acknowledge those role models and leading lights in the industry.



Programmes: In addition, our Mentoring programme connects women and enables them to develop mutually beneficial relationships and networks. From our industry-renowned Personal Excellence Programme, to Women on Boards, as well as informal networking opportunities across the UK and our Alumnae Network.



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Staff members of Mujeres de Xochilt take a selfie with young women and girls in the community during a workshop about sexual and reproductive health and rights.

Why better data is crucial for gender equality

By Tony Greenway


A lack of data about the lives of women and girls means that policymakers are forming decisions without full information about realities. To make amends we need to close the gender data gap.

Most people are aware of the “gender gap” that negatively affects women with regards to, for example, pay, promotion and access to services. More unfamiliar, but just as alarming, is the “gender data gap.” This is, in effect, gender inequality in the world of information gathering — such as sampling and surveys — which, accidentally or intentionally,

neglects to recognise the real lives and experiences of women and girls. That’s a big problem, says Emily Courey Pryor, Executive Director of Data2X, a collaborative technical and advocacy platform dedicated to improving the quality, availability, and use of gender data. Because, if government policymakers base important decisions on insights from incomplete or gender-biased information, women are invariably going to get a raw deal.

Emily Courey Pryor Executive Director, Data2X

Better data means female empowerment “Take the economic data government policymakers use, which often does not count unpaid work,” says Pryor. “This is work typically done by women and includes caring for children or elderly parents or helping in the family business. Yet, because it’s unpaid it’s also unseen — which means the value goes of women’s economic contributions often go unrecognised. As a result, policies

can be made that don’t reflect their needs or respond to their concerns.” We know that good gender data is essential to drive policies that promote gender equality, notes Pryor. “But right now, policymakers around the world only have access to biased or incomplete data that does not accurately reflect the lives of women and girls,” she says.

Of course, admitting you have a problem is one thing. Doing something about it is quite another. “Closing the gender data gap requires deeper understanding from the statisticians and data scientists who create data methodologies and surveys, to the technicians who build machine learning algorithms,” says Pryor. “Everyone needs to ensure that everything they design is able to capture data that truly reflects women’s real, lived experiences. That needs proper human resourcing, financial resourcing and training.”

Engagement needed from policymakers Policymakers must be actively engaged in the pursuit of gender data. “They need to be full partners in the process,” says Pryor. “They have to be completely engaged as data users, highlight why access to good data is so important and call for resourcing to ensure better data collection.”

When data is complete and unbiased, positive change can happen at policy level. Pryor points to the female senators in Colombia who fought to get a law passed which led to the country’s first-ever time use survey, used to measure unpaid work like household tasks and caring for others. As a result, Colombia’s government has begun working on a policy to address the burden of unpaid care. “Closing the gender data gap is not easy and takes time,” says Pryor. “But I do feel a sense of optimism — particularly when I hear examples like Colombia. Four years ago, the gender data gap was an issue known mainly to statisticians or academics. Now, there’s a new energy and interest in this from all kinds of people who care about gender equality and international development.” Read more on





Why gender stereotypes are barriers to women’s careers Society continues to sow the seeds that create a widening gap between the genders in terms of pay and careers, among other issues. It’s time to fight back against stereotyping. By Tony Greenway


n this day and age, the most surprising thing about the gender gap isn’t that it’s so wide. It’s that we should have one at all. But, nevertheless, it exists — and for a variety of reasons, notes Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20, whose brief includes overseeing work on education, employment, labour and social affairs, including gender. “It’s true that many women still bear the brunt of childcare, family care and elderly care, and don’t always have linear careers,” says Ramos. “But the reality is that we also face discrimination. So, we have to level the playing field because, yes, women are the ones who carry children, but there’s no rule that says we’re the only ones who should care for them after they are born. Expectations of what women should be doing with their lives can be barriers to successful career development.”

Closing the gender pay gap So, for that matter, is a lack of transparency around the issue of pay. We desperately need to close the gender

pay gap. But Ramos points out that pay levels are, in many instances, still decided behind closed doors. “That’s why it’s good to know that several OECD countries have instigated initiatives that enforce wage determination transparency,” she says. “Again, it’s true that women sometimes go into occupations that are less well-paid, and may have to work fewer hours, which has an effect on their wages. But — and this comes back to my point about discrimination — women are also less pushy when negotiating their salaries.” And, she admits, women aren’t always comfortable with putting themselves forward for promotion, either. Being assertive can, literally, pay dividends. Gender stereotyping is holding women back, too, she says — and this starts at an early age. “If parents are always telling girls, ‘That sport is for boys! Don’t climb trees! Don’t take risks!’ then how can we expect to develop the strong female entrepreneurs of the future? We still have a very traditional view of what women should and should not do.”

Gabriela Ramos OECD Chief of Staff and Sherpa to the G20

“Women have to be invested in the digital future, because it is the future.”


Encouraging girls into STEM careers Take science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and careers, which have depressingly low female representation because it’s generally assumed by parents and teachers that these are ‘male’ fields, so women need not apply. That ‘men only’ notion has to change, says Ramos. “First, we need to recognise that we have an issue,” she says. “We can’t do anything until we face facts. Then we need to launch initiatives to encourage girls into STEM subjects, just by letting them know that they can do it. We bring female role models into schools — astronauts, pilots, engineers, scientists etc — and let the girls talk to them. And when that happens, I can tell you: it’s amazing. We also need to change textbooks, so they are free of gender bias.” Some of this work is happening now on a small scale, says Ramos — but much more needs to be done, particularly in IT where the gap is especially large. Women have to be invested in the digital future, she says “because it is the future.”

Issues with stereotyping in social media To close the gap, other areas of society also need to change their ideas about the representation of women. In TV and film, for example, women are rarely the sole protagonists. “They are not usually portrayed as being successful in careers and are generally seen in mother roles,” says Ramos. She also pinpoints issues with the mainstream media and social networks. “On social media, there is huge pressure on girls to conform to norms about how they should look and feel. This is an area that needs more research, which we are doing at the OECD, but we know that girls — and boys — feel bullied on social networks. And with girls, it’s always about their image.” Finally, women need encouragement from their families and teachers to achieve their dreams. “I talk to women who have reached the top of various organisations, and they tell me: ‘I had family who encouraged me and told me I could do it. They told me there were no limits.’ If you tell a girl, ‘you can do it’, it makes a lot of difference to her self-confidence. And I include myself in that.”





How the tech sector can shift the dial on diversity How can the technology sector attract more young women? And, once there, how can their talents be retained? Three senior women from Royal Mail give us their advice. By Tony Greenway

Paula Gibson

We need to improve career guidance in schools to help young women make more informed choices. If we want young women and girls to develop an ambition to work in the industry, they need to understand the incredible breadth of roles within technology and how these can become career pathways. One way to do that is with female tech role models who go into schools as young ambassadors to promote the industry and break down gender barriers.

ing in STEM subjects taught in schools are still seen as ‘masof societyculine’. It’s often assumed that, eas aboutwhen choosing their options, boys en. In TVwill take engineering and girls will men aretake food technology, which is a gen“They areder stereotype we need to get away g success-from in this day and age. Schools ly seen incan help change that perception by She alsocelebrating women in STEM subjects instreamand talking about the career paths of On socialpast students who have gone on to be e on girlsworld-class engineers or tech leaders. how they s an areaGone are the days when which weapprenticeships were only for we knowcertain skills. These days, there bullied onis an enormous range of apprenticegirls, it’sships — all developed by employers — which provide real career opportunicourage-ties in technology. These aren’t entry nd teach-level jobs either, because you can move “I talk tofrom Level 3 apprenticeships right he top ofthrough to degree apprenticeships they tellupon leaving full-time education. couragedSchools need to help young women o it. Theyunderstand how apprenticeships ts.’ If youenable careers and provide developakes a lotment opportunities, otherwise womnfidence.en and girls won’t fully understand the pathways open to them. .”

Paula Gibson Apprenticeship Programme Manager, Royal Mail Group

Louisa Joseph Talent Pipeline Manager, Royal Mail Group

Emma Swift Enterprise Information Architect, Royal Mail Group

Companies need to make a conscious effort to attract females into the industry. They can help that process by, for example, updating their careers websites and using social media to show more women in post, and have video interviews with women about why they love what they are doing, what difference they are making and what a job in tech really involves. Attending careers fairs and skills shows is a great opportunity to answer questions and talk directly to future female talent.

Girls and young women need to be made more aware of the value of apprenticeships. Organisations and training providers have to engage with young people — and their parents/guardians — to demonstrate that an apprenticeship is a viable alternative to university. Young women need to know that if they don’t have the right qualifications, there are still opportunities for them to study – and earn while they learn.

If you’re interested in entering the tech industry, my advice would be to find a role model. There are senior people who can share these experiences with you and encourage you to succeed. Our technology executive population is currently at 57 per cent for female employees.

Louisa Joseph

Organisations must do more to collaborate with schools and colleges. That way they can engage with young people choosing their GCSEs and share stories about women who have developed rewarding careers in the industry. There’s a real need to challenge the tech stereotype and show children — particularly those from black and ethnic minority backgrounds — that you can be successful, whatever your skin colour or gender.

Organisations need to stop penalising women for having families. I think this happens in all industries, not just tech. These days, women won’t stay in an organisation that isn’t inclusive, so a business needs to encourage flexible working patterns like job shares and create opportunities for promotion for those who are not in full-time roles, at all levels/grades. Returning women should be given positive, proactive support with regards to learning and development, particularly in tech, which is a fast-moving sector. The entire culture of the organisation has to be on board with this — and that starts with the leadership.

Emma Swift

I’m a big believer in mentorship schemes. I’ve had female and male mentors who have given me one-to-one coaching. This is useful because, firstly, it’s not part of your day-to-job; secondly, it can help you identify parts of your character that you should be bringing to the fore. I’m also an advocate for women’s networks. I’m part of one, and it’s a space where you can share knowledge and ask questions about your career with people who’ve had similar experiences. Development programmes boost confidence and increase career prospects long-term. Young women need to seize the

opportunities presented to them and understand that, while knowledge is important, so is enthusiasm, which can take you a very long way. I’d also encourage young women to explore their options and take development opportunities open to them. Take apprenticeships, for example, and particularly digital apprenticeships. These are very constructive ways of getting work experience alongside relevant business experience. Flexibility in the workplace is vital if companies want to retain talent. That applies to both sexes. We are all working longer, and we don’t want to burn out, so I think employees should be able to take a sabbatical if they want them. To work for 60 or 70 years is asking a lot of us all! There is unconscious bias towards men in the tech industry. Perhaps more organisations need to adopt a ‘blind’ CV policy to help achieve parity in recruitment: i.e., introducing CVs with names and school details removed.


Read more on careers/royal-mail




Starting a new life, away from abuse: three women’s stories We share the inspiring stories of three young women in Iran overcoming abuse and addiction and starting a path towards a new and optimistic future. Forget about the Iran that you know.These are the stories of three defiant young women who try to overcome the traumas of their past with the help of a charity that works to instill a sense of empowerment and hope into the minds and lives of otherwise discarded, adolescent young women.The stories take you to a never-before-seen underclass of Iran. By Tony Greenway


hen Mojdeh’s father was sentenced to life imprisonment for selling drugs, her mother also became a drug dealer. At the age of 14, Mojdeh was sexually abused and tried to kill herself by taking rat poison; but then, like her parents, she turned to drugs. After eight years of addiction, she made the decision to turn her life around. Her aunt had heard about a charity running a programme of care and education and referred her to them. Mojdeh enrolled with them



aryam grew up in a poor family that went from one financial crisis to another. Her father and two elder brothers were opium addicts, which meant that they could not hold down a job. When she was 13, the family began selling Maryam as a sex slave in order to fund the drug habits of her father and two brothers. Her mother chose not to get involved. Maryam’s predicament came to light when she was hospitalised after a “customer” beat her and broke her arm. A hospital social worker referred Maryam to a charity that protects


fter a short and unsuccessful arranged marriage to an addict, Nazanin returned to her impoverished family home. Faced with an addicted father, disabled brother and two sexually abusive cousins, Nazanin began to use drugs and eventually tried to kill herself by eating a large dose of opium and was rushed to hospital. A social worker at the hospital knew of a charity that supports marginalised young women through a programme of care and education, and referred her to them. Nazanin enrolled on their programme in June 2015, and

“At the age of 14, Mojdeh was sexually abused.”

“The family began selling Maryam as a sex slave.”

“Arranged marriage to an addict.”

through therapy and education learned how to value herself and to begin working towards a safe and sustaining future. She also attended night-time high-school classes and received her high-school diploma in May 2017. She is set to graduate from the charity’s programme next month and — wanting to study pharmacology at Azad University in Tehran — will shortly be sitting her university entrance examinations. If successful, Nazanin will be the first member of her family to attend university, and will receive a scholarship from the charity in order to do so.

in June 2015 and found that their programme’s multidisciplinary therapy helped her deal with stress and anxiety. Even so, she knows it will be a long road to full recovery. She graduated from the programme in December 2017 and is now enrolled on a vocational training programme to become a beautician. She lives at the charity’s shelter, however, because she is still too emotionally fragile to lead an independent life.

and empowers young women, and their lawyers arranged for her guardianship to be transferred to her grandmother. Maryam enrolled on the charity’s programme of care and education, moving into their shelter in January 2012. After graduating from the programme in 2015, she began studying accounting at a vocational school and then found her dream job at an accounting firm. She is now a department head with a staff of two. Two nights per week, Maryam and a friend run a self-help group for young women who are survivors of sexual abuse.

Nazanin, Mojdeh and Maryam were enrolled in the programme of the Omid Foundation, which strengthens the social, emotional and economic competencies of disadvantaged and abused young women in Iran, providing them with a sense of self-worth, and with the opportunities to experience a full range of life options through selfempowerment, education and training.






Samburu EU Commisioner 18th Sept 2015


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EU - ‘Only a global movement will end violence against women and girls’ One billion women have reportedly suffered violence or abuse in their lifetime. How can we ensure everyone has a voice?


iolence against women and girls is omnipresent and persistent – affecting all nations, generations, and every corner of our societies. One in every three women – that’s one billion – have reportedly suffered violence or abuse in their lifetime. The real magnitude can easily be higher as we know that abuse is usually underreported, thriving in silence. This is a global problem of immense proportions. And it is simply unacceptable! This is why the European Union, in partnership with the United Nations, launched the “Spotlight Initiative” last September. With €500 million of initial funding, this unprecedented joint action aims to cast light on violence against women and girls all around the world; women and girls trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation, those threatened with domestic and gender-based violence, femicide, and all forms of harmful practices, including female genital mutilation. Such a bold display of partnership and resolve could not have come at a more significant moment. The recent #MeToo campaign has triggered a global chain reaction, emboldening millions of people – especially women – around the world to speak out and to inspire others, like the recent #TIMESUP campaign.

Neven Mimica Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, European Commission

“This is a global problem of immense proportions. And it is simply unacceptable!”

These highlight the sheer scale of this scourge, but also the strength and determination to put an end to violence and discrimination once and for all. With the #SpotlightENDViolence, we also want to spark a global movement. We want to work hand-in-hand with everyone from the grassroots levels to the highest offices: men and boys, women and girls, politicians and CEOs, survivors and activists. We have put our money where our mouth is, and now we’re calling on all partners to join us and help transform women’s lives for the better. Our “Spotlight Initiative” will support concrete and targeted measures to eliminate all forms of violence. We will prioritise prevention, protection, and the provision of services, alongside broader efforts to ensure women’s economic empowerment and their participation in all aspects of society. We need to debunk myths about gender that concern both women and men. Men and boys can both be part of the problem and make up the solution. We need to get them onboard to maximise our impact. We need to address deep-seated cultural and societal norms that underpin the unequal treatment of women and girls. In many places, legal frameworks in favour of women are already in place. But when it comes to implementing the positive laws that have been passed, local

customs and cultural or religious traditions often prevail. To take merely one example: despite female genital mutilation and cutting being illegal in almost all of the EU’s partner countries, it is still widely, and profoundly, practised. So, while we must continue to close the gaps and inequalities in legislation where they exist, we also need to scale up our support for existing programmes, gain better evidence, and ensure women’s and girls’ access to justice. Most crucially, we need to shift deep-rooted mindsets and attitudes. While they sometimes may seem immovable, I am firmly convinced they are not. We need to start engaging all men and women, local leaders, teachers, the media, in our efforts to ensure a brighter, more equal and better society for all. In my role as European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, but also as a father, a grandfather, a colleague, and a feminist, I will do everything in my power to ensure that women and girls – who represent half the world’s population and half of its potential – have a voice and a choice. Join me!



BOTSWANA ‘Enough is enough’ Boitumelo Joyce Ramphaleng has five children. She experienced a horrible marriage. “I tried by all means to make it a success. But there came a point when I realised that I might end up losing my life. I knew then that I had to make a change, because life comes first. If you have children and they happen to experience such a cruelty in a couple, they will end up copying what you are doing. There was a moment where I even thought that maybe I’d be better off dead. At the same time, I thought of my children and how young they were… After the umpteenth violent quarrel, my husband broke my arm and I eventually decided to disappear. I took 20 pills and I ended up at the hospital where I remained for two weeks”. She then met a lady… “We were received with open arms at the Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter and started getting help. We were taken to a safe house, where we received help physically, emotionally and in all areas.” In Botswana, two out of three women have experienced gender-based violence during their lifetime, which makes it a pressing human rights issue. The EU is supporting local NGO Kagisano Women’s Shelter to reach out with dramatised real-life stories on national television and with messages of non-acceptance.



Member of Forum des Femmes Autochtones du Cameroun stretches her arms out freely PHOTO: SARAH DAUPHINE PHOTOGRAPHING FORUM DES FEMMES AUTOCHTONES







Trudy Norris-Grey Chair, WISE Board

Women make great leaders An equal society raises the tide and lifts all boats. Ensuring women flourish benefits them, their family, their community and their society - which includes boys and men.

I meet so many inspiring and talented women who are great leaders operating in all aspects of life! Many have a story about overcoming adversity. Women want to progress and are capable of doing so. In certain areas of the economy, such as technology and medicine, there is a clamour for talent and potential and I see women taking their rightful place as leaders. I’d love to see more women be confident of their capability and see society help them reach their potential as leaders.

What is your personal experience as a woman in a senior position for such a huge organisation? Major organisations today understand the value of diversity and, in general, put in place the management processes to ensure they reap the rewards of a diverse workforce. We need to keep shining a light on diversity to ensure that teams, organisations, companies deliver on the goal of equality, diversity and inclusion. Exclusion must be challenged – it’s unacceptable and negatively impacts a thriving organisation. Why aren’t there enough women in leadership roles? There isn’t an easy answer to this question. I would like to see more women and girls in the pipeline, more female talent and progression, more challenge of conscious and unconscious bias, more inclusion and support. What can companies do to empower women to progress into leadership roles? Drive out discrimination and be active on diversity and true inclusion! This isn’t just a paragraph in a HR policy book; diversity and true inclusion need to be constantly demonstrated in every meeting, interaction, promotion discussion, recruitment activity and pay review. They need to be led from the top with success measures made public, progress shared and any missed targets addressed. This is not just about equality but about being the best we ALL can be, as individuals and as teams, utilising all the talent available. What work still needs to be done? We have made progress in the workplace environment; but we still have too many young women turned off to significant sectors of our industry such as science, technology, engineering and the built environment. There may still be prejudice in schools, girls may receive the message that some jobs are just for the boys. This is crazy and a waste of talent! In the area of medicine, women recruits outnumber men; yet in equally challenging and rewarding professions such as technology the situation is reversed. We need to constantly challenge paradigms and change our mindsets! If we don’t, we limit individuals, our communities and our country. What would be your advice to women and girls aspiring to thrive in business? Go for it! There are no gender reasons why you cannot succeed. Life is an adventure, it can be fun as well as hard work; don’t deny yourself the opportunity! Look for careers that are in demand in a rapidly changing and increasingly technology-based future. Acquire the skills you need to thrive in a changing world (they currently include STEM and creativity). Keep learning and adapting, be confident; ask for opportunities and pay rises; have fun; expect and demand equality.

UN Women IWD 2015 – Stepping it up on the streets of New York City


It’s time for a new narrative Through the arts we can challenge and change the narratives that perpetuate gender inequality. 100 years on from women winning the vote, how much progress have we made towards becoming an equal society, and how much further is there to go? This year marks the 100th anniversary of the right for certain women in the UK to vote. It’s hard to imagine that before then, women were not able to direct their own lives or the decisions of those who governed them. Today, gender equality is a mainstream concern, with boardrooms engaged in the debate around achieving parity in the workplace, a government that is demanding pay transparency and educational institutions encouraging women and girls into professions previously denied to them. Globally, we’ve recently seen an end to child marriage in Malawi and a lift on the ban for women drivers in Saudi Arabia. So far so good. But we are not there yet and there is no time for complacency. Women are still not equal. Equal work does not equate to equal pay. So many are still suffering from stereotypes that should no longer exist. They continue to live in fear of sexual harassment, abuse of power, or worse, violence in the home, at work, on campuses or on the streets. So while we’ve made great progress, when we ask the question ‘are we there yet?’, the answer is a resounding no. What do the arts have to do with creating a more equal society? The arts offer a place to address difficult topics and engage in narratives that can direct behaviour. Theatre, music, dance, exhibition and discussion all connect audiences with ideas and challenge old thinking. HeForShe Arts Week was established to tap into this wealth of opportunity and work

not achieve equality by excluding half of the population. Both men and women need to become agents of change and build as equal partners, crafting and implementing a shared vision of equality that will benefit all of humanity and create a better shared future.

Laura Haynes Chair of UN Women National Committee UK

“We’ve seen an end to child marriage in Malawi and a lift on the ban for women drivers in Saudi Arabia. So far so good. But we are not there yet.” with artists to find a new narrative. As children, we are told stories that shape our beliefs and the societies we live in. Stories of damsels in distress, wicked witches, heroic princes... But what are the stories of today that will shape society tomorrow?

Why should boys and men care about gender equality? The more important question is: ‘Why should we all care about equality?’ Increasingly, leaders are recognising that where there is greater equality, economies flourish, communities are more stable, there is less conflict and there is greater potential for societies to thrive. Statistics from the McKinsey Global Institute (2016) to the World Economic Forum show that the greater a country’s gender parity, the greater the GDP per capita. But, as history has shown, we will

This year, HeForShe are addressing the theme of ‘Changing the narrative’. What does this mean, and why is it so important? When I was growing up, I was one of the lucky ones. I was raised in a home where both parents told me that as long as I worked hard, I could be whatever I wanted to be. But I was shocked when the narrative of the world outside my home did not fit the narrative inside it. Teachers told me that some of the subjects I wanted to study were not available to girls. Girls were expected to nurse dolls and bake – and boys who wanted to do those things were ostracised. Every female character in every book or film was a damsel in distress – and if they didn’t conform to that role, they were a wicked witch. The same felt true in society. Through the arts we can challenge the old stories that perpetuate inequality and create a new narrative. With the support of arts organisations we are bringing the conversation directly to people through debate, comedy, visual arts, dance, film and music to drive social change. HeForShe Arts Week, London, will illustrate the beginning of a new suffrage movement – one that says “Time’s Up,” because what was started 100 years ago has not yet been completed. Because we need to change the way we think and the way we act. Because it is time. Read more on




Why you should make diversity your business By Tony Greenway SPONSORED

Making your company diverse isn’t just the right thing to do. To be effective, innovative and profitable, businesses need people with a broad range of perspectives and attitudes.

It’s a fairly obvious point to make, says Tara McGeehan, UK President of global IT and business services provider CGI, but if a company wants to recruit the best talent available it has to make its selection from all sections of society. “Otherwise you’re tying one hand behind your back,” she says. “A person’s gender, colour, background, religion etc, shouldn’t matter. Companies want to hear as many different viewpoints as possible — or they won’t get the quality of solution they need to succeed.”

It’s taken a long time for some organisations to understand this, says McGeehan. The good news is that things are changing. Partly that’s because, these days, most customers expect — and even demand — businesses to be more diverse. “If we don’t reflect our customers when we turn up to meetings to try and win work, then we’re at an immediate disadvantage,” she says. “Young people enjoy working for a company that mirrors society. My own industry needs to tap into this, because we have to attract millennials who can take us on the journey to digital transformation.” The bottom line is that diversity is good for bottom lines.

Initiatives that drive diversity If that makes implementing a corporate diversity strategy sound easy, McGeehan stresses that it isn’t necessarily. A mindset change has to be made from the top down and that can be a challenge. There are, however, various diversity drivers a company can employ at recruitment

Tara McGeehan President, CGI UK

“Women can have a different career outlook to men.”

stage, and actively encouraging female employees to put themselves forward for promotion. “Women can have a different career outlook to men,” says McGeehan. “They’ll find lots of reasons why they shouldn’t apply for a leadership position, even though on paper they have more experience than some of the male candidates. Knowing that, I’ll contact them and ask why they aren’t going for the job.” Unfortunately, it’s still necessary for McGeehan to put her “hand down to pull up the next woman” — which is why she also recognises women’s networks as an important platform for female peers to share their experiences and support each other.

Opening up career options Other key diversity initiatives include maternity coaching, running skills workshops and introducing a ‘Bring Your Daughter to Work’ day, the effectiveness of which McGeehan has experienced at first hand. “In our industry, it makes technology accessible to girls,” she says. “Going to their parents’ place of work shows them

that they could do something really exciting and significant in technology; some of our professionals help keep satellites in orbit, make sure doctors have faster access to patients’ notes or enable smart meters across Britain. It opens up their options.” Running higher apprenticeship programmes and degree-level apprenticeships means that young people who don’t want a traditional university experience, or who are worried about its inevitable debt, can still find a way to obtain a degree and further their career; although, particularly when it comes to the tech sector, young women need to get the message that those kind of apprenticeships are a viable alternative for them. “We need to level the playing field,” says McGeehan. “I don’t like the ‘this type of career isn’t for girls’ attitude. That’s just depressing. I don’t want to hear it — and I think society now expects something different.” Read more on

If a company lacks diversity, it won’t be successful By Tony Greenway SPONSORED

Organisations now have a vital opportunity to be a catalyst for change and improve levels of women in leadership roles, which is crucial for success in today’s business world.

For a long time, some companies saw diversity as something they felt they had to do for appearances’ sake. “It used to be something of a ‘tick box’ exercise,” says Simone Davina, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Siemens plc. But somewhere along the line, she notes, that mindset changed. “It’s now a no-brainer. If a company lacks diversity, it knows it won’t be successful. It needs different views from different people, at all levels.” That means promoting more women into leadership and management roles, which some companies are better at than others. In

her own industry — technology and engineering — things are improving slowly, although there is still much to do. But Davina — who became the first-ever woman on the Executive Management board of Siemens Netherlands before transferring to the UK in 2016 — is confident that if businesses seize the opportunity to be the catalyst for change and lead by example, more women will be promoted into leadership roles in all sectors. “We need to hire, develop and promote women into leadership roles” Davina says.

Simone Davina General Counsel and Company Secretary, Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador, Siemens plc

Empowerment through an open workplace Unfortunately, as a senior woman in a man’s world, you may have to be prepared to be a pioneer. “In the past, if I’ve voiced an opinion that goes against the consensus, I have received looks that seem to say: ‘She doesn’t get it’,” says Davina. “But I get it, OK. I just have a different view to everyone else in the room.” If women are going to successfully climb the corporate ladder, it’s crucial that companies develop an open culture where everyone feels valued and able to speak their

minds. “If people don’t feel secure about talking openly, then a company can have numerous women on its board but still won’t achieve the equality it’s looking for,” notes Davina. There are numerous ways for businesses to make a change for the better, she says. To fill their talent pipelines, companies should do more externally to interest women, instigate 50–50 shortlists and ensure they have well-balanced recruitment committees. Women-only networks are important, as Davina

says, “to feel empowered to make a change, it helps if you gather among equals.” Although networking in general is important, having a manager (male or female) who believes in you, champions you and encourages you to succeed is vital.

Publishing gender pay gap data When Davina arrived in the UK, she found a more diverse executive management environment than the one she had left in the Netherlands (although that has since improved, she points out). Yet the Netherlands seems to have a more enlightened attitude towards workplace flexibility. UK companies have to do more to make flexible working for both sexes a real possibility, she says — as does government. Finally, it’s time to close the gender pay gap once and for all, which is why Davina is pleased that companies with 250 or more employees are required to publish their gender pay gap data by next month. “It’s good for management to understand how women flow through their organisations,” she says. “Companies need to have a deep dive to understand what

they need to do to improve things. All businesses need to set realistic targets and strive for parity; it’s vital to have good processes that track how they are performing and create measurable outcomes.”

Simone Davina’s top tips for more women in leadership Make flexible working the norm for all – not just women ■ Create and empower women’s networks in your company ■ Join industry networks and share good practice ■ Make gender pay gap data available to line managers when deciding pay awards and bonuses ■ Track gender pay gap data and set realistic targets to strive for parity ■ Block/challenge all male shortlists for leadership roles ■ Challenge technical requirements that may deter more women applying for leadership roles ■








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and Wales have experienced some type of sexual assault since the age of 16. (Office for National Statistics, February 2018)

To the members of Alianza and farmworker women across the country, we see you, we thank you, and we acknowledge the heavy weight of our common experience of being preyed upon, harassed, and exploited by those who abuse their power and threaten our physical and economic security. We have similarly suppressed the violence and demeaning harassment for fear that we will be attacked and ruined in the process of speaking out. We share your feelings of anger and shame. We harbor fear that no one will believe us, that we will look weak or that we will be dismissed; and we are terrified that we will be fired or never hired again in retaliation.

We also want all victims and survivors to be able to access justice and support for the wrongdoing they have endured. We particularly want to lift up the voices, power, and strength of women working in low-wage industries where the lack of financial stability makes them vulnerable to high rates of gender-based violence and exploitation. Unfortunately, too many centers of power — from legislatures to boardrooms to executive suites and management to academia — lack gender parity and women do not have equal decision-making authority. This systemic gender-inequality and imbalance of power fosters an environment that is ripe for abuse and harassment against women. Therefore, we call for a significant increase of women in positions of leadership and power across industries. In addition, we seek equal representation, opportunities, benefits and pay for all women workers, not to mention greater representation of women of color, immigrant women, and lesbian, bisexual, and transgender women, whose experiences in the workforce are often significantly worse than their white, cisgender, straight peers. The struggle for women to break in, to rise up the ranks and to simply be heard and acknowledged in male-dominated workplaces must end; time’s up on this impenetrable monopoly.

Dear Sisters, JAN UA RY 1, 2018

We are grateful to the many individuals — survivors and allies — who are speaking out and forcing the conversation about sexual harassment, sexual assault, and gender bias out of the shadows and into the spotlight. We fervently urge the media covering the

Our Letter of Solidarity

20% of women and 4% of men in England

We write on behalf of over 300 women who work in film, television and theater. A little more than two months ago, courageous individuals revealed the dark truth of ongoing sexual harassment and assault by powerful people in the entertainment industry. At one of our most difficult and vulnerable moments, Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (the National Farmworker Women’s Alliance) sent us a powerful and compassionate message of solidarity for which we are deeply grateful.

We want to achieve equality and a balance of power. We want our companies and leadership across every industry to look like the country we entertain. We are asking for inclusion and equal representation of women, people of colour, LGBTQ and other underrepresented or marginalised groups.

We also recognize our privilege and the fact that we have access to enormous platforms to amplify our voices. Both of which have drawn and driven widespread attention to the existence of this problem in our industry that farmworker women and countless individuals employed in other industries have not been afforded.

To every woman employed in agriculture who has had to fend off unwanted sexual advances from her boss, every housekeeper who has tried to escape an assaultive guest, every janitor trapped nightly in a building with a predatory supervisor, every waitress grabbed by a customer and expected to take it with a smile, every garment and factory worker forced to trade sexual acts for more shifts, every domestic worker or home health aide forcibly touched by a client, every immigrant woman silenced by the threat of her undocumented status being reported in retaliation for speaking up and to women in every industry who are subjected to indignities and offensive behavior that they are expected to tolerate in order to make a living: We stand with you. We support you. Now, unlike ever before, our access to the media and to important decision makers has the potential of leading to real accountability and consequences. We want all survivors of sexual harassment, everywhere, to be heard, to be believed, and to know that accountability is possible.

disclosures by people in Hollywood to spend equal time on the myriad experiences of individuals working in less glamorized and valorized trades.

Harassment too often persists because perpetrators and employers never face any consequences. This is often because survivors, particularly those working in low-wage industries, don’t have the resources to fight back. As a first step towards helping women and men across the country seek justice, the signatories of this letter will be seeding a legal fund to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment across all industries challenge those responsible for the harm against them and give voice to their experiences. We remain committed to holding our own workplaces accountable, pushing for swift and effective change to make the entertainment industry a safe and equitable place for everyone, and telling women’s stories through our eyes and voices with the goal of shifting our society’s perception and treatment of women.

In Solidarity,

Abbi Jacobson • Adrienne Warren • Adrienne Houghton Aimee Garcia • Aja Naomi King • Alex Martinez Kondracke • Alexandra Meneses • Alexandra Eitel Alexandra Trustman • Alfre Woodard • Alia Shawkat Alice Braga • Alicia Vikander • Allison Jaslow Alysia Reiner • Alyssa Milano • Amanda Seyfried Amandla Stenberg • Amber Tamblyn • Amelia Roper America Ferrera • Amy Hobby • Amy Poehler Amy Sherman-Palladino • Amy Schumer Amy Emmerich • Ana Ortiz • Ana Brenda Contreras Andrea Navedo • Andrea Riseborough Andrea Sperling • Angela Robinson • Angelique Cabral Anjelah Johnson • Anjelica Huston • Anna Deavere Smith • Anna Rose Holmer • Annabella Sciorra Anne Hubbell • Anne Hathaway • Arianne Phillips Ashley Judd • Ashley Nicole Black • Aubrey Plaza Ava DuVernay • Averie Timm • Barbara Muschietti Bellamy Young • Betsy Beers • Blair Kohan Blake Lively • Bozoma Saint John • Brie Larson Callie Khouri • Cara Delevingne • Carmen Cuba Carol Burnett • Caroline Kaplan • Carrie Preston Carrie Byalick • Cate Blanchett • Caterina Scorsone Celeste Den • Chandra Wilson • Charlize Theron Chelsea Handler • Chloë Grace Moretz Christy Haubegger • Claire Karpen • Constance Wu Corrie Christopher Martin • Courtney Kivowitz Courtney Preiss • Cynthia Erivo • Dakota Johnson Dana Belcastro • Dana Spector • Danai Gurira Darby Stanchfield • Debbie Allen • Debra Messing Dede Gardner • Dee Rees • Donna Langley Dr. Stacy L. Smith • Drew Denny • Edie Falco • Eisa Davis Elizabeth Banks • Ellen Chenoweth • Ellen Lewis Ellen Page • Ellen Pompeo • Ellen Barkin • Emilia Clarke Emily Blunt • Emma Stone • Emma Watson Emma Thompson • Emmy Rossum • Eryn Brown

Eva Longoria • Evan Rachel Wood • Evangeline Lilly Evelyn O’Neill • Felicity Huffman • Frankie Shaw Gabourey Sidibe • Gabrielle Union • Geena Davis Gina Gionfriddo • Gina Prince-Bythewood Gina Welch • Gina Rodriguez • Gloria Calderon Kellett Gloria Steinem • Goldie Hawn • Greta Gerwig Gugu Mbatha-Raw • Gwyneth Paltrow • Halle Berry Halley Feiffer • Hannah Minghella • Hylda Queally Ilana Glazer • Isabella Gomez • Izzy Thomas Jaina Lee Ortiz • Jane Fonda • Janelle Monae Janet McTeer • Jeanne McCarthy • Jenn Lyon Jennifer Salke • Jennifer Garner • Jennifer Lopez Jennifer Newsom • Jennifer Lawrence Jennifer Connelly • Jenny Slate • Jessica Brown Findlay Jessica Yellin • Jessica Capshaw • Jessica Chastain Jessica Knoll • Jodi Peikoff • Jordan Harnsberger Joy Gorman Wettels • Judith Light • Julianne Moore Julie Darmody • Juliet Rylance • Jurnee Smollett-Bell Karen Pittman • Karen Gillan • Karla Souza Kate Arrington • Kate Hudson • Kate Beckinsale Kathleen Kennedy • Kathy Najimy • Katie Jacobs Katie McGrath • Katie Lowes • Keira Knightley Keleigh Thomas Morgan • Kellie Overbey • Kelly Marcel Kelly McCreary • Kerry Washington • Kim Roth Kirsten Schaffer • Krista Smith • Kristen Anderson-Lopez Kristin Burr • Laura Prepon • Laura Rosenthal Laura Dern • Laura Lewis • Laura Harrier Lauren Neustadter • Laverne Cox • Leah Fischman Lena Waithe • Leslee Feldman • Leslie Silva Letitia Wright • Lisa Joy • Lisa Vidal • Liv Rooth Liz Garcia • Lora Kennedy • Lorrie Bartlett • Lucy Fisher Maggie Gyllenhaal • Maha Dakhil Jackson Margot Robbie • Maria Eitel • Marin Ireland Marisa Tomei • Marissa Dishaw • Martha Plimpton Mary Parent • Megan Mullally • Megan Colligan

Megan Diamondstein • Melina Matsoukas Melissa Fumero • Melissa McCarthy Meredith O’Sullivan Wasson • Meryl Streep Mia Barron • Michelle Knudsen • Michelle Pfeiffer Michelle Kydd Lee • Michelle Weiner • Michelle Williams Mila Kunis • Mindy Kaling • Molly Kawachi Molly Ringwald • Nadia Quinn • Naomi Watts Natalie Portman • Natalie Tran • Nicole Kidman Niija Kuykendall • Nina Bongiovi • Nina Dobrev Nina L. Shaw • Nora Lum • Octavia Spencer Olga Segura • Olga Merediz • Olivia Wilde Olivia Munn • Pam Wasserstein • Pamela Abdy Paula Weinstein • Penélope Cruz • Phillipa Soo Piper Perabo • Pom Klementieff • Priya Swaminathan Rachel Kropa • Racquel Bracken • Rashida Jones Rebecca Goldman • Reese Witherspoon Rena Ronson • Rosanna Arquette • Rosario Dawson Rose McGowan • Rowan Blanchard • Roxane Gay Ruth Negga • Sadie Mackay • Salma Hayek Samantha Barks • Sara Fischer • Sarah Finn Sarah Rothman • Sarah Drew • Sarah Jessica Parker Sarayu Blue • Scarlett Johansson • Shani Rosenzweig Shari Springer Berman • Sharon Horgan Shonda Rhimes • Sienna Miller • Sophia Bush Sophie Okonedo • Stephanie Beatriz • Sue Naegle Susan Sarandon • Susan Goldberg • Susan Sprung Susannah Grant • Talitha Watkins • Tamara Tunie Tammy Jo Dearen • Taraji P. Henson • Teri Weinberg Tess Rafferty • Tessa Thompson • Thandie Newton Tina Tchen • Tonya Pinkins • Trace Lysette Tracee Ellis Ross • Tracey Landon • Tracy Brennan Uma Thurman • Uzo Aduba • Vera Farmiga Veronica Falcón • Viola Davis • Wendy Armitage Wren Arthur • Zainab Jah • Zoe Saldana Zoe Cassavetes • Zoë Kravitz • Zoey Deutch

TIME’S UP is a campaign driven by women to address the systemic power imbalances that have kept underrepresented groups from reaching their full potential.







Katja Iversen joins Nice Leng’ete in Lenkisem, Kenya to witness an Alternative Rites of Passage ceremony

5 ways to drive impact for girls and women through partnerships When taking on the major social issues of our time, we can’t go it alone. One key ingredient for big impact: partnerships.

H By Katja Iversen

ere are my top five tips for how to partner more and move the needle on gender equality and the health and rights of girls and women around the world.

1. Work with your competitors Because of limited resources, those that work on similar issues can feel like competitors. But often our immediate goals are different – some prioritise visibility highest, others prioritise fundraising or political contacts. Rather than look at like-minded organisations as only competitors, approach them as potential allies, and agree what you can and can’t work together on. Ultimately, we’re all working towards the same end goal; let’s do it together. 2. Break down the silos Girls and women don’t see themselves as individual body parts or a bunch of different issues, and

neither should we. That’s why we must address girls and women holistically, as whole girls and whole women. This means collaborating with diverse partners, including health champions, climate change advocates, education proponents, contraception proponents, land rights leaders and more. Because when we invest in girls’ and women’s whole health, rights and wellbeing, there’s a ripple effect across sectors that benefits everyone.

3. Think outside the box Unusual partners can open new doors to change. For example, auditors and women’s rights advocates may seem like an odd couple, but it’s precisely our differing insights and skills that would make a partnership like this impactful. National audit authorities and civil society members around the world can track government progress in reaching the Sustainable Development Goals, with a specific focus on gender equality, and make sure governments meet their stated commitments to girls and women. This is

just one example of an unexpected partnership but there are certainly many to draw upon.

Katja Iversen CEO/President, Women Deliver

“When we focus on building high-impact partnerships, we can change the world – together.”

4. Include the private sector The private sector has a huge role to play in improving the lives of girls and women. From hiring more women, including for leadership positions, to providing equal pay for equal work, ending stereotyping in marketing and investing in women in the supply chain – business leaders can create a more gender equal world, enhance women’s economic participation and benefit their bottom line. 5. Don’t forget about young people Partnering with young people is one of the best investments you can make to maximize impact. For programmes and policies to reflect the needs of the largest generation of young people ever, they need to be involved from start to finish in decision-making and implementation. Whether through engaging young people on advisory committees,

governance boards or leadership roles, their partnership is vital if we want programmes and policies that will be effective and work for young people. I hope these tips will serve as inspiration for how we can all work with new and old partners to move the needle for girls and women. When we focus on building high-impact partnerships, we can change the world – together. About Women Deliver: As a leading, global advocate for gender equality and the health, rights and wellbeing of girls and women, Women Deliver brings together diverse voices and interests to drive progress for all, with a particular focus on maternal, sexual and reproductive health and rights. Women Deliver builds capacity, shares solutions and forges partnerships, together creating coalitions, communication and action that spark political commitment and investment in girls and women.






Q&A: How can we ensure a healthy, wealthy future for young people? The world needs to be more responsive to the needs of young people, and particularly adolescent girls and young women, says Graça Machel, Board Chair of the Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health. By Tony Greenway

Why is investment in the welfare of adolescents so critical? In 2015 alone, 1.3 million adolescents died from preventable causes and millions of others suffered injuries and developed harmful behaviours with short-term and long-term health-related impacts. Adolescents largely lack the information needed to make informed decisions about their sexuality, family planning and their reproductive health. They also lack the necessary guidance from adult family members, teachers and medical professionals to both seek and access appropriate health services and support. These statistics tell us why it is so critical that various stakeholders concertedly take action to address the needs of young people, and particularly adolescent girls and young women. What kind of initiatives are needed in this area? Investment of $22.6 per capita in adolescent health each year will generate economic benefits of about 12 times the costs by 2030, even before considering the broader health and social benefits of such interventions.

Initiatives to improve secondary school enrolment and quality of education are central to health, wellbeing and human capital, and have long-lasting benefits on health and welfare over the life-course. Access to education must be any society’s imperative. Education, particularly of women and girls, enables them to make informed decisions, be full citizens, and allows their communities to reach their highest potential. Initiatives that incorporate life skills education and focus on ensuring that girls finish their studies are critically important. Studies have shown that girls who complete their secondary education are less likely to fall prey to child marriage or experience early pregnancies.

How important is it that individual sectors work together to make this a reality? Adolescent health and well-being is not driven by only one sector. It is underpinned by collaboration between health, education, water and sanitation, empowerment and social justice, to name a few.

Graça Machel PMNCH Board Chair and Founder, Graça Machel Trust

“Girls who complete their secondary education are less likely to fall prey to child marriage.” Partnerships between civil society, governments and private sector are needed to holistically address the unique needs of adolescents and ensure they are given a solid foundation to be healthy, engaged citizens.

Are you optimistic that things can and will change? In recent years, we have seen a paradigm shift in the vision towards adolescent health and well-being. We have a great opportunity that cannot be overlooked – and that is investments in adolescents, with adolescents. At the same time, we have reviewed our progress over the past 15 years with the Millennium Development Goals and the reality is clear: we have lagged behind with this population and their needs. We need to break the cycles that keep adolescents disempowered and illequipped to fulfil their potential. We need to put the power of change in their hands. An increase in financing and the establishment of multi-sectoral partnerships are critical to properly addressing major health challenges facing children and adolescents everywhere. Why do you think working towards the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will achieve better outcomes? The SDGs provide a platform for development to be more holistic,

comprehensive and driven by evidence. It is a globally agreed upon agenda that requires all actors — government, private sector and civil society — to work together towards common visions and goals. We must work meaningfully with adolescents and young people, the ‘SDG generation,’ to achieve each of the SDGs. We must equip young people globally to reach their full potential.

And how do we do that from a logistical point of view? Working for young people means not only working for them, but with them, and beside them. Today’s youth can at times be as much a mentor as a mentee. As adults, we need to involve them in the planning and implementation of programmes, seek out their innovative ideas and tap into their vibrancy. Young people also need to work together with each other to have a strong unified voice to push their agendas forward. Read more on



nd lth.



A group photo taken with the Chairperson of Girls United for Human Rights after a session educating girls on their rights

We need to give a platform to the Malalas of the world

n by evieed upon actors — ctor and together nd goals. hanks to the rapid ully with growth of technology, ople, the which has broken down eve each unprecedented commuip young nicative barriers, for the heir full first time we have an age of people who have been brought up in a global t from culture. Young women and girls have been made aware that gender ew? e meansinequality is deep-rooted in all socibut witheties and is a global injustice. ConToday’ssequently, we now have a feminist much amovement fuelled by the depressing dults, weheavy drip of #MeToo stories, legal he plan-suits and headlines – but what can n of pro-be done to truly ensure sustainanovativeble development toward gender vibrancy.equality? to work Working in the gender developto have ament sector, you are made conscious ush theirthat it is girl-centred and girl-led organisations who are on the frontlines of responding to girls’ needs and driving impactful change towards a more equitable world. Organisations that are rooted in girls’ own realities

What can be done to truly ensure sustainable development towards gender equality?


and are led by girls have the greatest potential to propel change that is truly transformational. Girls are a catalyst for change and typically feel the burden of poverty the greatest. It is they who have the drive to unleash radical change in a growing patriarchal and authoritarian world. There is a hugely inspiring lesson to be learnt from the capabilities of adolescent girls – from the confidence and ability they are able to show to their resilience and determination in the face of extremely challenging circumstances and pervasive discrimination. Girl-led organisations frequently lack the resources they need to operate effectively and achieve their mission. Despite the critical role that women and girls play in sustainable development, the World Bank estimates that less than two cents of every $1 spent on international aid is directed towards adolescent girls. Until we acknowledge and tackle the

Anisa Easterbrook The Stars Foundation

“By amplifying the voices of girls, we have a real opportunity to influence policymakers and create lasting change.”

issue that women and girls’ locally led organisations are significantly underfunded, unrecognised and underestimated, we cannot begin to take the steps needed toward creating a safe, gender-equal world for future generations. Locally led organisations are best placed to make decisions about where to spend their funds, and flexible funding is needed to allow small organisations to adapt to ever-changing circumstances and invest their funds where they need them. The lack of funding provided to feminist activism limits girls’ abilities to organise themselves, to be included in decision-making processes and to make their voices heard. When girls are left out, the inequality, marginalisation and isolation affecting girls remain unchallenged. It is only when funders (governments, private philanthropy and individuals) are more aware that powerful girl-led groups

exist and see why girls are a priority for equitable development, that an enabling environment can be created, in where girls have the resources, platforms and tools that they need to drive change. Citizens can and must play a leadership role in addressing the lack of resources available to grassroots girl-centred and girl-led organisations. When funders are more aware that powerful girl-led groups exist and understand why girls are a priority for equitable development, and truly believe in the power of collective organising to propel change, then an enabling funding environment is created in which girl-led and girl-centred organisations can survive and thrive. By amplifying the voices of girls, we have a real opportunity to influence policymakers and create lasting change. Read more on

Empowering women & Girls 2018  
Empowering women & Girls 2018